How often do we hear people say that a temporary or contract job is somebody’s first preference when looking for a role? From our experience. it’s not as common as it should be, but we are starting to see more and more of a shift in mindset as it is one of the most flexible ways to advance your career in finance.
How so I hear you say! There are a number of accounting professionals who swear by it and have built careers around casual temp jobs and projects, and a lot more view temp and casual jobs as a way of building up their experience and skills to take that next step.
It’s not an exhaustive list, but here are just some of the benefits of considering a temp job:
“Accounting is the same wherever you do it- it’s numbers, rules and money” – not entirely true. Whilst the basic premises of the role remain, and the knowledge you have from your degree and professional qualifications can be applied to any industry – you’d be surprised how many nuanced differences there are from industry to industry.
You may feel like you’re being typecast into Logistics, or Retail, or Legal for example, and finding it hard to break out of those industries. Taking on a temp accounting role can help you do that. You get a crash course, and hands-on experience working within a new industry – whether that’s learning about COGs, or WIP reporting – working for companies with multiple sites or being exposed to ASX reporting. Taking on a short-term contract within a new industry can help you build up that breadth in your resume when looking for your next step.
Your last role may have been very 'business-as-usual' – you were reconciling accounts and balance sheets and bunkering down for month-end – and you didn’t get as much of an opportunity to work on different improvements and projects as you would like to demonstrate the value you can add.
Achievements are important in any resume if you want to demonstrate what you can bring to a potential new role over the next person. Taking on a temporary role that focuses on these things can be an alternative to gain exposure to systems implementations, process improvement and documentation and integrations/acquisitions. Companies tend to hire additional staff for short periods around these times, and it can benefit both parties.
As you can see on various job advertisements, there are so many different accounting and reporting software being used out there for various purposes. You may have cut your teeth in accounting using MYOB or Xero and want to gain experience using larger or more automated systems, or even work with a company that has invested in BI and reporting tools.
A range of systems experience, or at least the demonstration of being able to pick up new systems quickly can be a big tick next to your name in the future, and by taking on a temp job with a company that is using a different system, you can add a great deal of additional value to your skill set.
You may only get the chance to work in a temporary contract role for a specific amount of time – but you’ll be working and collaborating with new managers, stakeholders and colleagues. Have the confidence to sit and have lunch with them, connect with them on Linkedin, and keep in touch.
Temp work is a fantastic chance to build your professional network and leave a positive mark on the team that you are supporting – which in turn can pay you back the next time you need a reference, or you notice that your old manager was in the same chartered firm intake as the person you’re interviewing for your dream job!
Whether you’ve taken a career break, been on a long-overdue holiday, or taken an extended parental leave, taking up a short-term temp or contract role can help you jump back into work at your own pace and without the long-term commitment, to begin with.
Of course, temp jobs can become permanent in some cases, but it gives you the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in a role – its demands, the commute and flexibility, and the team culture before diving into a permanent role. A 'try-before-you-buy' approach can help you put yourself firmly back on the career path that you want to be on.
Whilst not relevant for those raised in Australia – those who have arrived on Working Holiday, Student or Graduate Visas can use temp work as a way of building up their experience in a new country making your application even more competitive the next time you’re looking for a role.
Working in a temporary accounting role for however short or long a period you’ll learn a lot. Getting exposure to GST, superannuation, localised award rates, AASB, and ASX reporting and even gaining an understanding of the work culture in Australia can help to reduce any concerns, or question marks that a potential employer may have when reviewing your applications in the future.
Not to mention, if you did decide that you wanted to keep on experiencing working in different countries, you’ll be able to easily demonstrate your ability to pick up local rules and regulations quickly and effectively!
Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily recommend leaving a permanent job for a temp job, if you find yourself between roles, returning to work, or even in a new environment altogether, temp and casual accounting and finance jobs can definitely help. Whether it is building out your experience, adding unique achievements and projects to your resume, demonstrating adaptability and your ability to learn quickly – the benefits of temp work are definitely not something to be overlooked!
If you are interested in accounting and finance temporary or contract roles, we have a specialist team who focuses specifically on these jobs. Give us a call to find out more on (02) 8324 5640.